Resident Advisor for Budget Strengthening in Mali
The Public Finance and Institutions (PFI) programme at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is looking for a full-time resident advisor to help set up a Budget Strengthening Initiative (BSI) in Mali (through a BSI inception project) to support the Ministry of Budget and other Ministries in different aspects of budgeting. The resident advisor will work in close collaboration with a small team of non-resident experts and a local consultant to explore options for providing longer-term technical support and capacity building to strengthen the budget process and ongoing reform efforts of the Government of Mali. S/He will also contribute to the provision of concrete advisory outputs. The main focus of the technical advice will be on building a credible and comprehensive budget, enhancing budget transparency, strengthening fiscal decentralization and assisting the implementation of programme budgeting.
A. ODI-BSI Background
The Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) Budget Strengthening Initiative (BSI) supports the world’s poorest, most fragile and most conflict-affected states to develop more effective, transparent and accountable systems for managing public finances. The project works in collaboration with a network of international development partners (including IMF; African Development Bank and World Bank) to provide high-level, country-tailored and confidential policy advice on budgeting issues, revenue administration and financing service delivery, to governments of fragile states. The project is hosted by ODI’s Public Finance and Institutions (PFI) Programme, which covers research on public finance policy and institutional reform, the role of public finance reform in driving development outcomes and work on promoting effective resource management and mobilisation. Currently, the project operates in three countries: Liberia, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, but we are looking to expand our engagement into one or two additional countries such as Mali this year. In the past, BSI also provided support to South Sudan, DRC and the secretariat of the g7+ group of fragile states and offered advice and assistance on the New Deal for Fragile States.
The initiative aims to build stronger economic governance in fragile states by providing flexible, demand-driven support to address bottlenecks or obstacles to progress in implementing government reform plans and fill gaps in the assistance provided by donors.
It operates according to a number of principles:
· Building relationships of trust and offering independent and confidential advice;
· Being politically informed;
· Taking into account the incentives of counterparts and other stakeholders to anticipate political and programmatic risk;
· Being responsive to the particular needs and wishes of its partner countries, avoiding pre-conceived approaches and institutional templates; and
· Employing an iterative, problem driven approach to systems and capacity development.
Full details of BSI funding, staffing, and programmes can be found on https://bsi.odi.org/en/home/.
B. Background on BSI Mali inception project
The BSI Mali inception project is aimed at crafting a (3 to 5 years) Budget Strengthening Initiative (BSI) programme for Mali that will provide policy and implementation assistance in the area of public finance and financial management to the Government of Mali. The intermediate outcome of this engagement will be a more effective and efficient implementation of public finance and financial management reforms such as: better informed budget choices and processes, more effective programme expenditures, improved vertical and horizontal coordination, greater accountability and transparency. Its ultimate outcome will be improved fiscal and institutional capacity to deliver core services to the population and, consequently, increase the public’s confidence in its institutions. After an initial scoping visit to Bamako in the summer of 2017, collaboration with the Malian government is at an incipient stage and specific areas of support for a BSI intervention will need to be firmed up over the course of this inception project that will be implemented during the first three quarters of 2019.
During the initial scoping visit, ODI-PFI representatives held discussions with various high-level officials: the Minister of Human Rights and State Reform and his officials, and the Institutional Development Coordination Unit (CDI); the Minister for Decentralisation & Local Taxation and his officials; the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff and his technical advisors; and, in the Ministry of Finance, with the Director General of Budget and representatives of the Public Finance Modernisation Coordination Unit (CARFIP). Discussions were also held with representatives of different bilateral and multilateral donors. During a brief follow-up visit after the Presidential elections in September 2018, several of these contacts were revisited and continued relevance of potential support areas was affirmed.
During these conversations, the issues below were identified as significant and immediate concerns:
· Budget transparency
· Programme budgeting system and results-based management
· Modernizing internal and external control ‘functions’
· Public investment management
· Improving revenue collection
The priorities raised by the Malian authorities and development partner representatives resonate with the mission of BSI and its experience over the past eight years in other fragile or conflict-affected contexts. The inception project, which will be implemented during the first three quarters of 2019, aims at further clarifying the focus of and demand for BSI support. It will further explore, discuss and analyse the issues and themes identified during the preliminary visit with the Malian government. It will also serve to establish a robust and effective working relationship with key stakeholders within the GoM based on mutual trust and a common understanding of the critical issues. This will be achieved by providing hands-on support on pressing issues to key government institutions from the start. The inception project will thus constitute the basis for articulating a longer-term (3 to 5 years) BSI Mali programme that will be proposed to Sida for funding in the second half of 2019.
C. Objectives of the Assignment
The objective of the assignment is to support the BSI Mali inception project through contributing to the following tasks, in close collaboration with a small team of non-resident experts and a local consultant:
· Narrowing down the topics identified in the 2017 scoping visit to a smaller set of focus areas and specify the concrete problems to be addressed. Ideally, the focus areas will be logically interlinked so as to allow for the emergence of synergies in the support.
· Within this set of focus areas, identifying the specific institutional arrangements and processes that require support in order to address the problems at hand, and articulate ways in which the BSI programme can provide this support.
· Assessing the stakeholder landscape with the aim to shed some light on the interests, alliances and relative strength of the key stakeholders and to identify strategic partnerships for the BSI programme interventions.
· Gauging the demand of Malian key stakeholders for concrete programme interventions. Agreeing on who should be the specific recipient of policy analysis and technical assistance and the ways in which they will be delivered.
· Identifying a ‘champion’ among the key stakeholders in the Malian Government to anchor the ODI support and take ownership of the joint reform interventions.
· Identifying and implementing discrete support interventions that yield direct, visible results/quick wins (e.g. supporting the budget transparency website), as a means to engage with Malian stakeholders at an operational level and build trust and confidence in BSI support.
· Where feasible, providing additional ad hoc support upon request.
· Further identifying opportunities and risks for the success of BSI programme interventions and, where feasible, formulating mitigation strategies to manage the risks to the greatest extent possible.
· Gathering information about other Development Partner activities and how they interlink with potential BSI support. The aim here is to design BSI interventions in such a way that they complement or amplify rather than duplicate or contradict other efforts.
D. Expected Tasks and Outputs
Specifically, the resident advisor will be expected to perform the following tasks and outputs:
She or he will be expected to join and actively contribute to the first short-term mission to Bamako of the BSI Mali team (2 weeks in April), which will serve to
· introduce the resident advisor to the Malian authorities;
· hold discussions with government officials from key institutions to explore potential areas of support;
· kick-off implementation of the first support intervention (support on budget transparency website); and
· identify and agree on further support interventions.
Following the first mission, the resident advisor will remain in country to follow up on potential areas of longer-term support with Malian partners, advance support interventions, and provide additional support to partners upon request. S/He will also:
· provide or coordinate technical inputs to the support interventions from short-term consultants as needed.
· maintain frequent contact with the team of experts to inform them about any progress made on the support interventions as well as on other potential areas of support.
· Contribute to reports and other project deliverables as instructed by the project lead.
· receive back-stopping support from the team of non-resident experts and the local consultant as needed.
The resident advisor will be expected to join and actively contribute to the second short-term mission (2 weeks in June or August 2019 depending on availability of stakeholders) to Bamako, which will serve to
· discuss possible scenarios for longer-term assistance with potential counterparts within the Malian government including programme set up and staffing;
· secure ownership from a key partner, who is willing to ‘champion’ the BSI programme; and
· prepare and hold validation workshop with all relevant stakeholders to agree on conceptual framework of longer term BSI support programme including key issues, and approaches.
E. Working and Reporting Arrangements
The resident advisor will work in close collaboration with CARFIP and other Malian government institutions (in particular the Budget Directorate and the Ministry of Decentralization), as well as with the team of non-resident experts and the local consultant. S/He will report to the BSI Mali inception project lead. Performance will be measured against an agreed work plan that will be finalized at the end of the first short-term mission to Bamako.
F. Time Frame
Resident advisor on a full-time basis from approx. April 1st to August 31st, 2019 (+/- 5 months) with short-term visits and remote support by a team of ODI-BSI advisors as needed during this period. The total number of days during this period is estimated to be up to 100. Subject to further funding, there is the possibility to extend the engagement.
G. Skills and experience
We are looking for outstanding individuals with a proven track record of coaching and delivering technical advice and guidance and with 3 or more years of relevant professional experience in public financial management in one or more of the following areas: budget reform, expenditure management, revenue mobilization, decentralization, public financial accounting, and external controls.
All candidates will need to demonstrate the following core competencies:
· Building and managing effective relationships, including the ability to navigate complex political environments
· Supporting and coaching others to deliver change
· Strategic planning and decision-making
· Analysis and use of evidence
· Good communication skills
· A creative and entrepreneurial approach to overcoming barriers and making change happen, and the ability to cope in demanding environments
· Very good verbal and written skills in French and English
· Above all, high levels of enthusiasm, resilience, and a can-do attitude
· Post-graduate qualification in economics, public administration, development studies, business administration, or other professional equivalent is required. Candidates with a relevant undergraduate degree, but additional relevant professional experience will also be considered.
· Experience of working in developing countries, especially fragile states, is desirable.
· Experience of working in government institutions, in particular in ministries of finance, or budget or related institutions is desirable (secondments are welcomed).
· Experts do not need to be located in London and experts from developing countries or fragile states are particularly encouraged to apply.
· PLEASE NOTE: The contract offered is for the supply of consultancy services and will not constitute a contract of employment with ODI.
Remuneration will be competitive within the international charitable sector, dependent on experience, and will include provision for flights, accommodation, and other agreed expenses.
Send your application (CV and a (maximum) 2-page cover letter including expected daily fee) to Cristian Ciobanu (email@example.com) by close of business on January 31st, 2019 using subject line “Application resident advisor BSI Mali”.